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Can an Allen MDS-5 & Deagan chime indoor speaker work together?

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  • Can an Allen MDS-5 & Deagan chime indoor speaker work together?

    My church has an Allen MDS-5 organ. The sanctuary is too large for it. With the cabinet speakers sitting at the organist's face, she doesn't turn it up anywhere close to loud enough for the congregation to hear it. She never will because what she hears is just fine.

    I suppose the only/best fix for the situation is to hook up external speakers that can be placed for better distribution. Is it possible for this console to support external speakers? If so, how much trouble would it be to hook them up?

    Also, in the not-so-distant past I acquired a "Deagan chime indoor speaker and vibraharp effect unit". At least that's what the handwritten note on the back of it says it is. It came from a professional organ repairman, and I have no reason to doubt it's identity. I wonder if this Deagan speaker/magic box could be a cure to my problem above? It has 2 plugs. One is apparently a power plug, and the other is an obviously specialized plug. It has nine pins in a circle surrounding a large center plug that has a keyway that's supposed to prevent you from inserting it wrong. What it was supposed to be inserted in is a mystery. Can you solve it?

    I don't need any special effects this speaker might be capable of providing for it to help the volume problem stated above. But I wonder if and how it could be hooked to the Allen console? Is there anybody out there who knows anything about this speaker? Is it just a conventional speaker, or does it have specialized voodoo wizardry inside also? If so, can those features be easily unlocked & utilized? Or can this speaker be hooked up and used as a conventional full-range speaker?

    Thomas

    Moved to the correct section of the Forum, where it should get a better response. Andy-Moderator
    Last edited by andyg; 10-29-2017, 02:43 PM.

  • #2
    As far as I am aware. all of the smaller Allen MDS models were two channel organs. Certainly the MDS-5 would support external speakers. If you check out the organ you'll find there are tabs to turn on external speakers and turn off the console speakers. The relays to perform this function may or may not have been installed in the console.

    The external speakers for the organ would require full range response at high power; the standard Allen Models would be HC-12, HC-14, or HC-15. The only difference between the HC-14 and HC-15 is that the 14 has a furniture grade veneer finish where the 15 is utility painted finish. Audio performance is identical. These speakers come up for sale regularly on ebay, craigslist, and other classified ads.

    If your console does not have the relays installed, it would be best to get these from you Allen dealer, as they have to be installed correctly to work from the organ tabs.

    The Deagan speaker is probably something specialized and is probably not suitable for use as an organ speaker. The chimes and vibraharp effects do not require the full range that the organ needs.

    You don't provide your location in your profile, and you should add it--there might be members close to you who could personally help and it's useful if we know of equipment that you might need that is located near you.

    Here is the user's manual link: https://www.allenorgan.com/www/suppo...s/033-0049.pdf

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    • #3
      I'll have to look at the console to see if it has tabs for external speakers. I have another option for an external speaker. In the early '70's my brother built a Schober organ from a mail-order kit. It had a massive freestanding speaker cabinet about 5' tall, 3' wide, and about 20" deep. Anybody know anything about these, and if/how it could be hooked to the Allen MDS-5? Just a single speaker wire, perhaps? The speaker cones are pretty large. I'm pretty sure this is a "full-range" speaker, as it was the only speaker this organ had. There were none in the console itself.

      Comment


      • #4
        I built a Schober Recital Model organ back in the 1960s and used my hi-fi speaker system for it. Schober did offer its own speaker system, the LSS-10 (I think) but it was not nearly as large as what you describe. That must have been a one-off unit your brother built or bought somewhere. Although I don't know anything about that speaker, if it was satisfactory for the Schober it might be acceptable for your needs. Hook it up to an amplifier and try it.

        ETA: I just went to a Schober document and there was an optional LSS-100 speaker cabinet that might have been as large as you described. Although the picture I saw did not have dimensions, it might have been 5' high and 3' wide. It reportedly had a frequency range of 20-18000Hz and could handle 100 watts. (Of course, one can't take frequency response data at face value.) You can read up on it at this link https://issuu.com/capejag/docs/howschoberorganswork, pages 62 and 63.

        David
        Last edited by davidecasteel; 10-30-2017, 02:58 AM.

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        • #5
          Simple answer to both speakers you mention is "no." To properly distribute the sound of a two-channel Allen organ you need a pair of identical Allen speaker cabinets, preferably HC-14 or HC-15. So while the speakers you have at hand might well be decent ones, you need two identical full-range heavy-duty speakers, and there are very few ordinary speakers out there that will do what you want to do, other than the correct Allen units.

          Good news is that they are often sold on ebay and craigslist, and often for $200 each or less. Be aware that buying them used you may have to replace the foam surrounds of the midrange drivers. Or maybe you'll be lucky and find some that have already been updated.

          Also, you should keep in mind that the organ is a valuable piece of equipment. It would cost close to $50,000 to replace it with a similar model in today's line, so be very careful. You really need to call a qualified tech to install the relay and correctly connect the speakers. At the same time, a tech could give this organ, which is now probably 25 years old or older, a good routine maintenance and make sure that it is performing as it should.

          Your problem is a common one. You don't say how large the church is, but an MDS-5 or other two-channel self-contained Allen is probably inadequate in more than one way for any church that seats over 75 people. Of course that depends greatly on the acoustics of the building and the placement of the console. In some circumstances I have seen a small self-contained organ do a great job of filling a church seating 300 people, but that would be unusual. Adding a pair of properly-placed external speakers should make it adequate for a church seating at least a couple hundred, at least if the acoustics are good.

          And it is true that an organist is often reluctant to play loud enough when the speakers are too close to the console. If you are able to get some external speakers, place them some distance from the organ, both in the same general area, since the two channels carry different sets of stops and the organ will not sound right if you, for example, put one speaker on one side of the room and the other speaker 25 or 30 feet away. Just put them side by side and direct the sound out into the room the best you can.
          John
          ----------
          *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

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          • #6
            I didn't include the physical size of the auditorium or the number of people in the congregation because they're immaterial. When you have a timid organist who won't turn up the instrument loud enough, despite being repeatedly begged to do so, it doesn't matter how capable the instrument is. The problem is that the sound all emanates from the organist's knees, and until that changes, the size & acoustics of the building don't matter.

            I know little about Allen organs. To me, the great bulk of them are noble, but failed attempts to emulate a real pipe. Yes, I know recent digital organs are tremendously better. Unfortunately, that advance in technology comes at the same time the popularity of the instrument is cratering. Sigh. I'm not any happier about that than many of you are.

            But I digress. I just want to get one little instrument playing well enough so it can actually be heard.

            John: Are you speaking from actual knowledge about Schober speakers, or are you just talking about "ordinary speakers" in general? This Schober speaker isn't an "ordinary speaker" if you're talking about regular home stereo speakers. It was designed to be a high-end organ speaker & it's the largest organ speaker I've ever seen, all Leslies included. Absent specific information indicating it's unsuitable for connection to an Allen cabinet, I don't see why it couldn't be paired with another Allen speaker, given that they're playing different sounds.

            And I'd be more inclined to rely on a real organ technician, but the last time I succeeded in getting one to my house was 2+years ago & that's not for lack of trying. And the "local" music store that handled Allen/Rodgers organs was 40 miles away & shut down over a year ago. A $50k instrument is worthless if it's played too softly to be heard & there's nobody to fix it when it breaks.

            Thomas

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            • #7
              The Schober organ speakers are LSS-10 and LSS-100, and both are wide range, full power speakers. Schober designed their organs so they could be played through any high fidelity speaker system with adequate bass response, and their own speakers were designed because it became hard to find full bass speakers. If they are in good operating condition (and that is a big "if" considering their age) they would be very suitable for use with an Allen organ.

              If you have two of the Schober units you can try them. You could also use one Schober and one Allen with suitable tone control adjustments and volume levels to match the channels, but be aware that that would likely upset the two-channel balance for the internal speakers. It would be best to completely disconnect the internals if you want to take this approach.

              Comment


              • #8
                That was what I was thinking about. As good as the Schober speaker may be, it's just one, and you need two. But the biggest difference between the Schober and an Allen would likely be the efficiency ("sensitivity") and that can be compensated by adjusting the volume knobs on the amps, though a more thorough approach would be to completely re-voice the organ to fit the octave to octave balances of the two different speakers. (Thus my preference to use a pair of identical Allen speakers, which would probably sound nice without much futzing with the controls.)

                As toodles says, the efficiency and balance of whatever externals you use (even if they are Allens) is unlikely to exactly match the console's internal speakers, which are quite different in design from their HC cabinets. And considering that your organist is unwilling to play loud enough for anyone else to hear, it might be worth a try, just putting the speakers some distance from the console (to "force" her to play louder so she can actually hear what she's playing).

                So, in order to do that, you can try using the Schober box along with some other high quality wide-range speaker. I'd connect the Schober speaker to the channel that carries the 16' pedal stops, since it probably has better bass capability (given its size) that almost anything else you're likely to come across.

                the trick is un-hooking the internal speakers without doing any violence to the organ. Find the speaker connection terminal strip in the floor of the organ. It may or may not have been replaced with an antiphonal relay ("Univerel") assembly. In either case, you should find that the internal speakers are connected to the two "antiphonal" terminals, as that was common practice in Allens with internal speakers. You can loosen the screws and disconnect the two wires that are on those two terminals.

                Then connect the new external speakers directly to the amplifier output terminals on this strip in the floor. (You can even connect them directly to the output terminals right on the ADC amplifier chassis if you like.) Phasing is not going to be important at this point, since you're only using one speaker cabinet per channel, and the two channels are not locked in phase but intentionally offset in tuning.

                Then test to see if the Viola and viola celeste stops on the swell are about the same level. If not, adjust one or the other amplifier to bring them to approximate parity. (Assuming that the organ was correctly voiced before you started, which is a big assumption!)

                You will need the organist to play and tell you if there is enough volume or too much, which may not agree with your own assessment! But adjust the two volume knobs as needed, keeping the viola and viola celeste balanced. (I say this because they are in opposite channels, but are supposedly identical in tone and volume, for reasons that would not be clear if you are not an organist.)

                Given the predicament you are in, this can hardly be worse! I hope it will help a little. Best wishes for an improvement in your music!
                John
                ----------
                *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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                • #9
                  I agree that the first thing to do is to disconnect the internal speakers! (Well, after connecting external ones, of course....) Until that is done it is very unlikely that the organist will change her ways. Of course, if the external speakers have their own totally separate amplifiers, it would be possible to set them up to be suitably loud even when the internal speakers are not. (Could you put in the external speakers and set them up without the organist knowing about it? With the internal speakers playing at her feet, she might not even know that the rest of the church can hear what she's playing better.)

                  David

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                  • #10
                    I think you guys have finally grasped the situation. And your information is tremendous. Now it just seems that I need to come up with at least one suitable Allen speaker…and time to fiddle with the whole thing.

                    David, your suggestion about setting it up clandestinely is appealing, but probably wouldn't work, as there's no place to put speakers like this that would not be noticed. And I'm pretty sure the problem is predominantly the misleading level of sound she's getting. I hope.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I really can't fault the organist in situations like this--she has to try to balance the organ with the singing, and she can't ever be effective at this with the speakers arranged as they are now. The original dealer should have recognized the potential problem and insisted upon external speakers--or on a model without internal speakers. Maybe the dealer did, and the church didn't want to spend the money on a decent sound system?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd think any really good hi-fi speaker would be acceptable for the channel that does not have the 16' stops in it. I played my Schober (which did have 16' stops) through pairs of Wharfedale, Fisher XP-18, and several other good hi-fi speakers back in the 1970s and 80s. I still have the 2 XP-18 speakers (18" woofers!) and they still work fine. (I had my Recital Model set up to be dual channel.) I used the Wharfedales when the organ was in Iran--those babies were HEAVY because the cabinets had double walls with sand in between. My Recital Model and the Wharfedales were used for a recital in Tehran's Rudaki Hall back in 1970.

                        I believe the Wharfedale speakers I had were model W70Ds, and this is their description: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/503347695827549599/. There are several of them on sale on eBay, either in pairs or separately. (Not pushing them, just reminiscing a little, I guess.)

                        This is the description of the XP-18 speaker: https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...x=0&ajaxhist=0. I didn't mess around when I got speakers for my Schober!

                        All things considered, it probably is best to find an appropriate Allen speaker for the other channel.

                        David

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I agree that any decent hi-fi speaker will do for the channel without 16' pedals. Maybe not a really cheap speaker from a K-Mart stereo, but something like David mentions or similar. I've known people to use good quality Advent or KLH speakers, even Pioneer or other consumer-grade speakers on organs with good results. Or a good commercial sound speaker such as Peavy if it has at least a two-way design.

                          David, when I was a young audiophile, I read Stereo Review and such and I remember marveling over the Wharfdale and other exotic speaker designs. The sand-dampened cabinets were fascinating to me, and I'm sure that sand made good speakers sound even better by completely eliminating cabinet vibrations.
                          John
                          ----------
                          *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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                          • #14
                            I have read 2 accounts of the Fisher XP-18 speakers that say they are able to handle up to 75 or 100 watts. I'm pretty sure the Schober LSS-100 can handle at least 40 watts and probably twice that--it was intended for large rooms. The Organ Notes #91 on the Schober Organ Orphans web site (http://users.cloud9.net/~pastark/sonote91.htm) it mentions an article that states the LSS-100 can handle up to 100 watts, and discusses a dual-amplifier combiner that can use 2 of the standard Schober TR-2 amplifiers (40 watts nominal output) to drive the LSS-100.

                            I don't think I'd be hesitant to try using that LSS-100 speaker in the bass channel of any Allen (providing, of course, that it's fully functional), and either of the other speakers I described (or their equivalent) should be OK for the other channel. You're going to need some significant amplifier power, though. (But try what you have first, of course.)

                            David

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                            • #15
                              The good news is I have 2 Allen HC15's heading my way this coming weekend. The bad news is I looked into the organ console, and I'm pretty convinced that hooking them up would be very simple, if I just knew what to do. Can anybody here walk me through that? I also took some pics of the internal parts, but I'm not sure how to share/post them.

                              There's an "Amplifier" box on the floor of the console that the internal speaker wires come to. There are 10 "Output" terminals, each with a flat head screw that holds special clip that wires are soldered to. The top 4 are labelled 1, COM, 2, and COM. They each have a wire connected as follows: 1-yellow, COM-black, 2-green, COM born. The next four, 3, COM, 4, and COM, have nothing connected. Is that where I'm connecting the new speakers? There are 2 more slots at the bottom, labelled + and -. Those 2 terminals have wires attached as follows: + purple; - black?

                              Or am I supposed to be disconnecting the top 4 terminals and connecting the "new" speakers to the same place?

                              I also don't know what kind/size of wire I should be using. Can I just go to Best Buy and buy speaker wire? If so, what size?

                              If I need to solder the new wires in, can I just cannibalize the special clips from the 3 and 4 slots, remove the 1 and 2 slot wires, and put the new speakers where 1 and 2 were? Or do I need to put the new speakers on 3 and 4 (after soldering those wires on)?

                              Oh, and feel free to use small words and talk down to me with lots of them. I really don't know what I'm doing, and welcome your advice.

                              Thanks in advance!

                              Thomas

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